Pookas are sprites from Irish Celt mythology, renowned predominantly for their ability to shapeshift into various animal forms. Most commonly, they take the form of a horse, cat, rabbit, raven, fox, wolf, goat, or dog; however, they have also been known to appear as goblins and as creatures resembling humans, but most commonly this human guise will be flawed either subtly or obviously by one or more animal features. Similar critters by different names are found all throughout the Celtic regions of England, Brittany and even France.
D&D first had the pooka show up as a fey NPC creature in Dragon Magazine #60. They later became a player character race for Basic D&D in the first of the Creature Catalogs: "Tall Tales of the Wee Folk". This version of the pooka is described as taking myriad forms, including horses/ponies, goats, asses, bulls, eagles, greyhounds, elk, and human-sized mice, guinea pigs and rabbits, often wearing impeccably tailored suits. Uniquely amongst fey, it has the power of selective visibility - the ability to become invisible or visible to specific individuals as it chooses. They also have the power to manipulate time and implement dreams as they see fit. (What does it mean to "implement dreams"?)
In Pathfinder, pooka are fey with shapeshifting abilities (2 animals from the following list: cat, goat, rabbit or raven), the ability to detect magic and go invisible at will, inflict sleep and create a minor image 3/day, and inflict a suggestion 1/day, and the power to create clouds of toxic dust that can either drive a victim mad or just leave them in a drunken stupor. These pookas are known for being extremly Chaotic Stupid, to the point that even other fey think they're delusional weirdos.
Both versions of the pooka are very fond of mortal company. This is why the BD&D version is a PC option, whilst the PF version is an Improved Familiar option for a 7th level or higher caster.
|Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition Races|
|Basic Set:||Dwarf - Elf - Hobbit - Human|
|Creature Crucible 1:||Brownie - Centaur - Dryad - Faun - Hsiao |
Leprechaun - Pixie - Pooka - Redcap - Sidhe
Sprite - Treant - Wood Imp - Wooddrake
|Creature Crucible 2:||Faenare - Gnome - Gremlin - Harpy |
Nagpa - Pegataur - Sphinx - Tabi
|Creature Crucible 3:||Kna - Kopru - Merrow - Nixie |
Sea Giant - Shark-kin - Triton
|Dragon Magazine:||Cayma - Gatorman - Lupin - N'djatwa |
Phanaton - Rakasta - Shazak - Wallara
|Hollow World:||Beastman - Brute-Man - Hutaakan |
Krugel Orc - Kubitt - Malpheggi Lizard Man
|Known World:||Bugbear - Goblin - Gnoll |
Hobgoblin - Kobold - Ogre - Troll